I write this rejoinder to add my voice to the news item that appeared on Peace FM Website on 31st March 2004, which the management of Accra Training College made a passionate appeal to government, as matter of urgency to reclaim the land belonging to the college to them. According to the Principal Mr. Abu Bakar Wallace, encroachers have taken some portions of the land and have started developing the land.
It is very pathetic that such unlawful act be condoned, tolerated and carried in the presence of all the institutions of state with the mandate of securing and protecting the property of government. How can some individuals allow themselves to be swayed by their personal selfish interest at the expense of the nation? How can certain people just take the law into their own hand behave as and when it pleases them?
It is a common fact that land management is a bane on our development effort, as it has not been managed properly to the benefit of the nation. Land management will continue to have negative effects on the economy if pragmatic steps are not taken to address its abuse by self-centred individuals. We have all been witnesses to the fact that many lands are sold and resold to another person by the same person and buyers of land continue to have serious problem. This is prevalent in the major cities like Accra, Kumasi and other urban centres.
One thinks that this abuse of land management just take place in private land ownership. But the news from the Principal confirms that this disrespect has now crossed boundaries and now land encroachers are now developing on government's lands. This is too serious because were not they aware of the land belonging to government and for that matter the school?
Looking at the current educational system in our schools one would have thought the immense contribution played by Training Colleges and for that matter land meant to develop the school would have been well preserved to serve the purpose for which it was earmarked. The infrastructure at the school needs to be expanded to accommodate the ever-increasing demand for training of teachers. I believe if the state acquired the land legally in 1972 then there should be proper supporting documentation to that effect. If that is the case then any encroacher on the land of the school commits and offence and should be prosecuted right away. On the other, if there is no legal documentation on the land, which is the case in most land acquired by the state, the immediate steps ought to be taken to re-negotiate with the chiefs so that a compromise could be made. This will stop developers from encroaching the school land.
For a start, I think those who have started development already should be asked to discontinue construction pending the outcome of the negotiation.
Considering the immense importance educational institutions play in the in the country and the arduous task imposed on the training colleges to train the manpower needs of the country so as to fill in the vacancies in our schools, I want to make yet another appeal to the government to consider this as an issue of national importance and gives it all the attention it deserves so that the land demarcated for the school will be preserved to serve the present generation and posterity. Also the Ghana Education Service (G.E.S.) should take the responsibility to ensure that all lands for educational institutions have the legal documentation including the Accra Training College Another appeal must go to La Mantse-Nii Kpobi Tettetsru IV, the chief of Mempehoasem and the Head of the Saishie Clan of La to use their good offices to stop these encroachers.
Looking at what is happening, it also important for heads of institutions to make sure that any land acquired by the state for the purpose of carrying out a particular national project will have proper legal documents so that in matters of this nature there will be no need to make any appeal to anybody but rather go to court to seek court order to stop people developing on government's lands. We must all recognise that education hold the key to national development and Training Colleges have a role to play and I think the earlier this mess is dealt with impartial justice the better for us.
Before concluding let me pose these questions: where was the Town and Country Planning Department? Who demarcated the land to these encroachers? These are critical questions we have to ponder over it and make our own judgements. If Accra Training College could produce such personalities like Professor Anyedoho of University of Ghana, Mr. De Youngsters, an Educationist- De Youngster Complex School and Mr. E. O. lartey, Principal-La Vocational Training Centre and many others serving the nation in various capacities, then every steps ought be taken to reclaim the encroached land back to the college or protect what is left so that college can carry out her constitutional mandate to the whole of Ghana. Christopher Adjei Okpoti (Old Student-Accra Training College) Research Student (Mathematics) Luleå University of Technology Sweden Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.